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    Friday, 10 August 2018

    Heroes with no names.

    Sekuru Dhauramanzi; a linchpin of the liberation struggle in Gutu District whose name has disappeared in history.

    Sekuru Takaona with granddaughter Chido Hamandishe recently. Sekuru Takaona bought and supplied comrades with clothes and shoes


    I was out of school in 1979 after Mukaro Mission where I was a boarder and just about to complete my primary education was shut down during the war of liberation.
    Indeed all rural schools in Gutu District were shut down as the war escalated to its climax. Rural roads were impassable and access to different places became impossible.
    It was a time of anxieties for me and my family of seven that included my father Augustine Tsikirai Takaona and my mother Henerica Raviro Takaona. We were not the only ones affected but our situation was exacerbated by the fact that my father would be away from home for many days and nights every other week.
    His knock at the door always after midnight brought relief and joy to everyone. We would swamp from our different bedrooms in the house to greet him. We had come to expect any news about him; life, death or getting captured.
    After hugging and emotional screams of joy, my father will get his attention back to his bicycle, unbundle large parcels from the carrier and take them to a brick kiln near the house where he would hide them. Sometimes we would catch him hiding his parcels in the long grass growing in the garden about 500 metres from the house.
    Sekuru Takaona (84) is one of the hundreds of ordinary heroes who will never get their names mentioned anywhere. Zimbabwe is celebrating Heroes' Day on Monday August 13, 2018 and their stories just like of those of Kamungoma Massacres in Dewure in Gutu where 105 people were killed in one night will not be told.
    The country's new heroes are the streetwise who can canvass for votes in the ruling party and rise up the structures.
    These are the people, never mind their ages and never mind their whereabouts at the time of the war who now sit down in their notorious little circles and determine who should be or who should not be a hero; whether district or provincial.
    Following the death of a local person, they are seen making a call to Harare to recommend hero status. They speak to a god-father in the party who in the fulfilment of a patronage system endorse whatever they recommend.
    No one in the village is involved in discussing hero status. These villagers who were at the forefront wait to be given their heroes by people who were neither born nor there during the war.
    Sekuru Takaona was an agricultural extension worker and he had a farm in Nyazvidzi Small Scale Commercial Farms in Gutu. Because he had a small shop at Chiguhune Business Centre also in Gutu he became a good conduit for buying and supplying Zanla forces with shoes and clothes. He had a shop licence that enabled him to buy goods in bulk.
    He would ride his bicycle at night every other week to Mpandawana Growth Point where he would get a bus to Masvingo. His rides became even more scary because of a 6 to 6 curfew imposed by the Rhodhesian Government. The distance to Mpandawana is 40km one way.
    In Masvingo he warmed himself to some wholesalers and in particular Kismet where he bought the clothes and shoes and was therefore confident that he would not be sold out.
    He had to be very discreet in order not to be caught as the Rhodhesian intelligence, Police and soldiers were everywhere.
    One particular incident he will never forget was when he got on one of those errands and word reached Rhodhesian forces that he was either in Masvingo or Mpandawana buying regalia for the comrades. 
    "Soldiers and Police in plain clothes invaded the rank and people at the growth point wondered what the problem was. That is the day that I was supposed to die," Sekuru Takaona.
    He said that one .....Ngwaru popularly known as Zama Zama investigated the situation and found out that the soldiers were looking for Sekuru Takaona. Zama Zama informed .....Dhauramanzu, a successful businessman in the growth point and a linchpin of the liberation struggle in Gutu.
    "Dhauramanzi instructed Zama Zama to intercept Kuwirirana Bus Service that I had boarded from Masvingo because soldiers were searching every vehicle entering the growth point.  Zamazama stopped the bus just after Chatsworth, took me aside and told me to load all my goods into his car.
    "We left in his car towards Serima and entered Mpandawana from a different direction. Zama Zama took me to Dhauramanzu who hid me in an office at his night club until just after midnight when we were sure soldiers on curfew patrols had left the roads.
    "I got home at around 4pm but I will never forget that incident," said Sekuru Takaona.
    He said apart from being a courier, he was the cell chairman of the Zanu PF Mauzhe  cell and was deputised by the late Ellias Muungani.
    Dhauramanzi confirmed the incident and said the details were now faint in his head because he is old. He reemphasised the crucial role he played during the liberation struggle and said that what nags him most is that many people of his ilk were now forgotten.
    He said he did not fight for material things but all that should happen to the veterans is that they should be acknowleged.
    "How come you have remembered me after so many years? I never expected anyone to remember that someone will come up today and remember my contribution to the liberation struggle. I am very grateful for that my son and am free to talk to you anytime," said Dhauramanzu whose young brother the late Brigadier ....Dhauramancu was declared a national hero.

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